Influence Project

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Stefan Sagmeister is well known for the unorthodox, proactive designs that combine with status quo and question the designer’s role in the society. When Stefan Sagmeister was a student in New York, he met Tibor Kalman who inspired his design work all the time. Especially, his work at M&Co was deeply influenced by Tibor so that he cultivated his own career. After Stefan Sagmeister left M&Co due to the abruptly disbanding, he started to work for genre and medium, especially specializing in CD covers. Just like I.D. magazine, who promoter Stefan Sagmeister a lot, said “CD package designers are what poetry is to prose: distilled, intense, cunning, evocative and utterly complete. His intentions have set a new standard.” Even though Sagmeister had a good achievement on CD covers, the appearance of MP3 declined the popularity of CD. At that moment, Stefan Sagmeister announced one-year sabbatical to reinvent his work. During that year, Sagmeister ignore how his client or audience to think about and judge him. He devoted his time to discover himself completely and found his “aha” moment. When he came back, he also brought his new work – “text-based artwork, that uses the aphorisms and text fragments to express, either through poetic nuance or commanding declaratives, ideas designed to foster individual thought and group action.” (AIGA)

I was inspired by his text-based work, because it shows the attitude to life, to art work and even to exploring ourselves. Just as his motto said, “design that needed guts from the creator and still carried the ghost of these guts in the final execution.” Therefore, I decided to choose him as my influencer for my project. Additionally, his work style is very different from my own design preference, I want to take this chance to challenge myself.

In my work, I only applied one feature of his work – hand-writing typography. However, his work always combines real photography, such as a big human face, and a lot of hand-writing content with some line and arrows. At the beginning, I tried to find some photos of riders to show their emotions and put text on their faces. But this way is less originality. And then I used one person who win the race and put the text on the background by grouping to laps, just as my draft shown. But this idea is kind of stuck, because I didn’t how to make it look like a lap and how to fully fill the text. So, I finally chose to draw a part of bicycle and then put hand-writing content on it. And then use some warm colors like red, orange to show a lively atmosphere. The overall design idea is simple, but the text-creating process was very time-consuming.

The most difficult decision for me is whether to use the texture. I tried to put a metallic texture on my bicycle so that it is closer to real one. And the background can be a wall with brick texture so that the overall image is about a bicycle leaning to the wall. However, the texture made text blurred and hard to read. So, I finally decided to use the one without texture.

Overall, I feel my work is okay. This project not only challenges the creative process, it also requires a high level of technical skills. I always feel that I want a style, but I don’t know how to make that happen. I hope that situation will change as I learn more skills.